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College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on April 7, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: WATCH: South Carolina walk-on nails kick during spring game, then gets awarded scholarship
THE SYNOPSIS: These types of videos will never, ever get old.  The recipient in this video, Parker White, went on to be the Gamecocks’ primary placekicker in 2019.  He made all 25 point-afters and 18-of-22 on field goals.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Steve Spurrier is returning to coach football… but will remain a Florida athletics ambassador all the same
THE SYNOPSIS: The Alliance of American Football was officially announced on this day, with Spurrier piloting the Orlando franchise.  The Ol’ Ball Coach’s return to the sidelines lasted eight games as the new pro league shuttered eight weeks into a 10-game season last April.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Nick Saban, on making QB decision: ‘You have a time frame. I don’t’
THE SYNOPSIS: The Nicktator gives zero you-know-whats about you peasants and your timelines.  Tua Tagovailoa, the freshman sensation who was the hero of the 2017 national championship game, was the favorite.  Jalen Hurts, the two-year starter, was the subject of myriad transfer rumors.  Tagovailoa ultimately won the starting job. Hurts ultimately transferred to Oklahoma.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield enters not guilty plea in Arkansas arrest
THE SYNOPSIS: Run, Baker, run!

2017

THE HEADLINE: Shaq Wiggins barred by Louisville from transferring to five schools
THE SYNOPSIS: The Bobby Petrino-led Cardinals petulantly barred the cornerback from transferring to Kentucky, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Purdue and Western Kentucky. On appeal, MSU was removed from the banned list. Wiggins ultimately transferred to Tennessee.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Waco police investigating “prominent Baylor football player” for alleged sexual assault
THE SYNOPSIS: This was one in a series of events that marked the beginning of the end for Art Briles with the Bears.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Report: Big 12 may get title game in ’16; ACC to three divisions?
THE SYNOPSIS: Half of the report was accurate.  Kind of.  After a seven-year absence, the Big 12 did reinstate its football championship game.  In 2017.  Obviously, three divisions in the ACC never happened.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Ohio State will pay $2 million to non-conference opponents
THE SYNOPSIS: Six years later, UConn confirmed that Ohio State will pay them $1.95 million.  For just one game.

2012

THE HEADLINE: More details from Petrino’s Sunday motorcycle accident
THE SYNOPSIS: The soap opera that was Bobby Petrino had entered its fifth day.  Three days later, the daytime drama was canceled.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Writer: ‘Bama supporter paid for five-star recruit
THE SYNOPSIS: Alabama went on to find no violations in their investigation of the recruitment of Brent Calloway.

2009

THE HEADLINE: BAD NEWS FOR THE SEC: A.J. GREEN IS 100% HEALTHY*
THE SYNOPSIS: Dealing with a groin injury throughout his true freshman season, Green caught 56 passes for 963 yards and eight touchdowns in 2008. In 2009, his statline read 53-808-6. In 2010, it was 57-848-9. The wide receiver was the fourth-overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

(*Yes, back in the day, we used to scream out our headlines at our readers in all-caps. The move to NBC a couple of months later mercifully ended that practice.)

Anonymous FBS athletic director: ‘If there’s no season, we will be f*****’

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If you didn’t realize how important college football is to an athletic department’s bottom line, this should highlight it.

In the midst of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, some connected to the game of college football are decidedly pessimistic that the upcoming season will be played. Others are expressing cautious optimism. For now, at least.

Brett McMurphy of The Stadium conducted a survey of 130 athletic directors with FBS programs, with 112 of them participating. According to McMurphy, the ADs “were asked to rank their optimism on the upcoming season being played from ‘1’ (will not be played) to ’10’ (definitely will be played).”

Not a single AD gave less than a “5” in response, meaning everyone who responded, at least at this time, feels there’s at least a 50-50 chance the season will go off as planned. A slight majority of respondents (51%) assigned either the numbers seven or eight in McMurphy’s survey. One-quarter of them were decidedly optimistic with either a nine or 10 as a response. Most of that optimism was on the part of Group of Five programs that, already financially reeling from the distilled NCAA’s revenue distribution last month, desperately need a college football season to be played.

If the college football season is to start on time — the first games are scheduled for Aug. 29 — what would be the absolute latest teams could start reconvening and prepping for the 2020 campaign? The answer you get depends on the individual you ask. Some would say early June at the absolute latest. Others have said the middle of July.

So, what if the season is canceled? Completely?

“If there’s no season, we will be f*****,” an anonymous AD told McMurphy.

A tweet from Ross Dellenger of SI.com very plainly illustrates how reliant athletic departments are on revenue from college football.

Suffice to say, if the 2020 college football season is completely wiped out, non-revenue sports will be cut. Lots of them will be shuttered, more than likely.

The good news, such as it is, is that the powers-that-be in the sport will go to great lengths to save the 2020 college football season. In fact, one report earlier today suggested that the season could start as late as January of next year. How that would work with players who are eligible for the 2021 NFL Draft would have to be worked out, as would myriad other issues.

While it’s way too early to form a concrete opinion, there’s little doubt that all connected to the sport will exhaust every option to save the 2020 college football season. And, if the season is canceled? It’ll mean we all have a helluva lot more to worry about than sports.

Syracuse mourns death of former head coach Frank Maloney at 79

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As too many programs have been doing of late, the extended Syracuse football family is mourning the loss of one of their own.

In a press release, Syracuse announced that former head football coach Frank Maloney has passed away, the family confirmed.  Maloney was 79 years old.

According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Maloney died at his home in Chicago from complications of metastatic brain melanoma.

From 1974-1980, Maloney served as the Syracuse football head coach.  Maloney replaced Hall of Famer Ben Schwartzwalder, who retired after a quarter-century with the Orange following the 1973 season.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Coach Maloney. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and former players,” Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said in a statement. “Coach Maloney led our football team during a time of transition, taking over the program after Coach Schwartzwalder’s 25-year tenure. He developed many young men, several of whom went on to very successful business careers and a number of talented players who went on to the NFL.”

Maloney played his college football at Michigan.  The West Virginia native’s coaching career began at his alma mater in 1968.  He spent six years at U-M before leaving to take over the Syracuse football program.

During his seven years with the Orange, Maloney went 32-46.

One fascinating aspect of Maloney’s tenure with Syracuse football?  The man Maloney replaced, Schwartzwalder, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.  The man who replaced Maloney, Dick MacPherson, was inducted into the same Hall of Fame in 2009.

MacPherson was 86 when he passed away in August of 2008. Schwartzwalder died in 1993 at the age of 83.

Despite New York shutting down construction, work on Syracuse’s Carrier Dome continues

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Like many states around the country, New York has issued a state-wide shutdown of all non-essential businesses. The updated order from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has included a ban on non-essential construction projects, which is notable to Syracuse University. Just weeks after deflating the roof of the Carrier Dome for the final time as renovations were underway, whether or not the Carrier Dome classifies as essential construction or not is still being debated.

As noted by Syracuse.com, stadiums did not fall under the list of construction projects that could be considered essential. Essential projects have included those on roads, bridges, transit, utilities, hospitals and affordable housing, just to name a few. Clearly, the Carrier Dome does not fall under any of those categories. But, of course, that has not stopped some officials from stating the construction on the Carrier Dome should be allowed to continue.

The Dome project should be exempt,” Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said recently, according to Syracuse.com. “I already had a call with the state on this. Regardless on the Dome project, it has to be exempt because that big metal structure on the Dome isn’t secure. They’re still putting it up. We’re not going to stop construction and have 50 mph winds present another public health challenge. I called the state and just put everybody on notice on that. I talked to the contractor.”

Syracuse will be replacing the roof after a new railing support system is in place. The renovations to the Carrier Dome are priced at $118 million and the original plans were to have the project completed in full by 2022, although some parts of the renovations were likely to be completed in time for the 2020 college football season. Whether that will remain the case or not remains to be seen as the entire sports world and beyond has been put on ice amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Rutgers (!) continues its recruiting roll, lands four-star commitment that gives it the No. 12 2021 class thus far

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Under second first-year head coach Greg Schiano, Rutgers football has been on a recruiting roll. Thursday night, that roll continued.

As we noted earlier this week, Rutgers had secured four commitments from 2021 football recruits in a span of six days. On his personal Twitter account Thursday night, Khayri Banton added to the haul by announcing his commitment to the Rutgers football program.

“First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge that, all of the blessing I’ve received in this recruitment process, were God-given,” Banton wrote. “Second, I would like to thank my immediate family, especially my mother for supporting my development as a young man and student-athlete.

“Lastly, I’d like to thank… all my coaches and mentor who’ve helped mold me through my years of playing the sport I love, and also all of the collegiate coaching staffs who’ve recruited me and enabled the opportunity of attending and playing at their University.

“This process and decision was not easy but, I stayed home and represented my city through high school football. Now I’ve decided to stay home and represent my state.

Banton is a four-star 2021 prospect. On the 247Sports.com composite, the Newark high schooler is rated as the No. 7 player regardless of position in the state of New Jersey. He’s the highest-rated commit in the Scarlet Knights’ class.

In addition to RU, Banton held Power Five offers Boston College, Miami, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

Also on that 247 composite, Rutgers football is currently in possession of the No. 12 class in the country. Ahead of the likes of Georgia (No. 13), LSU (No. 16), Michigan (No. 17) and Oklahoma (No. 26), among others.

Again: Rutgers football, nine months ahead of the Early Signing Period, is on the periphery of a Top-10 class.

For some perspective, the best Rutgers football recruiting class of the past two decades was No. 23 in 2012. The cycle immediately after Schiano left the school for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it should be noted.

Outside of that, the recruiting finishes have been decidedly pedestrian for the Scarlet Knights. Since the start of the 21st century, 18 of the Scarlet Knights’ 21 classes have finished outside of the Top 30.  Of those 18, 15 finished 42nd or worse; 10 came in outside of the Top 50.

So, yes, what Schiano and his crew are doing in Piscataway is impressive.  Whether that equates to on-field success, though, remains to be seen.